A glimpse into SG President Michael Cepeda and Vice President Thomas De Maio


[Alexis H. | Contributing Photographer]

Photo courtesy of Michael Cepeda
Photo courtesy of Michael Cepeda

About Michael Cepeda:

A two-year veteran of Student Government and former member of the Boca House of Representatives has been the student body president for three months now.

Photo courtesy of Thomas De Maio
Photo courtesy of Thomas De Maio

About Thomas De Maio:

A relative newcomer to Student Government who was briefly involved in his freshman year, is the current student body vice president. He was only introduced to Cepeda just prior to their election campaign through a mutual fraternity contact.




Student Body President Cepeda and Vice President DeMaio are making a concerted effort to increase awareness about SG on campus and be accessible to the student population.

Cepeda: We never wear our nametags, and that’s purposefully, because we think that if we need to wear our nametags, we aren’t doing our job right. People should know who we are, and that’s one of the things that we’re working on.

DeMaio: Mike and I have an open-door policy, we love seeing our fellow classmates come up here, whether it just be to say ‘hey’ or mention a concern, something’s happening on campus, Breezeway’s leaking or anything like that.

Both President Cepeda and Vice President DeMaio are enjoying their jobs and the opportunities they present.

Cepeda: Oh it’s great, man. It’s a dream come true, this has been always the goal. I mean, not a lot of people were surprised when they found out I was running…It’s been great, it’s a good opportunity to give back to FAU.

DeMaio: Things are going well, I’ve got a great team around me and a lot of great friends I met along the way. For me, one of the more rewarding parts is getting to know all these new student groups and student leaders that never otherwise would’ve gotten the chance to meet. This is my first time getting my feet wet in Student Government, I did it for about a semester in my freshman year and then I had to get a job to help pay for school. So returning to it three years later…it’s been a great time. Like Mike said, we’ve done a lot over these past couple months, just hitting the ground running.

Photo courtesy of Michael Cepeda
Photo courtesy of Michael Cepeda

President Cepeda and Vice President DeMaio have several planned changes for the coming semester covering a variety of issues. Some, however, are further along  than others. The sale of beer at FAU Stadium, however, is one such change that is already on the books.

Cepeda: There’s a lot of ideas that are already in motion, but I guess I’ve learned through the beer Incident to hold off before I announce stuff, because I don’t want to be thirsty again, although that is happening!

DeMaio: They are going to be serving alcohol throughout the stadium, that is true.

Cepeda: As long as you’re 21 you can go down and get beer…But yeah, there are a lot of ideas, and they’re up there…But again, just from learning from the past, I’m going to hold off.

DeMaio: The administration, Dr. [Corey] King, Terry [Mena], President [John] Kelly, they’ve been more than helpful with us since we’ve taken our new roles; and they have made it very clear to Mike and I that anything the students want to see happen, they’re willing to work with.

The occupants of the top offices in Student Government such as Michael and Thomas spend much of an average day communicating and networking within FAU.

Cepeda: I normally come in, check my emails. I get really happy when I’m done sending all my emails, it’s nice to get it all done. I’ve responded to everyone. I try in a 24-hour window to get everyone’s response in, so it’s nice, I’m really happy when I can respond to everyone in the same day.

DeMaio: A lot of what the day consists of is, like Mike said, just coming to the office, checking the emails, reaching out to the Deans of the colleges, or professors, basically any athletic director or coaches. It’s basically reaching out to everyone on the university level, and getting them excited about what Mike and I have in store for this next coming year.

[Alex H. | Contributing Photographer]
[Alex H. | Contributing Photographer]

The trend of FAU students wearing merchandise (t-shirts, hats, etc.) from other universities has rubbed the top office-holders in SG the wrong way, and they are planning to take action with a program called “Owl Foul.”

Meme by Mohammed F Emran
Meme by Mohammed F Emran

Cepeda: That’s a huge pet peeve of mine, even at orientation I call out people who wear that…

DeMaio: That’s just a bummer, y’know? I feel like something really cool that Mike actually started was the Owl Foul Program. A lot of students don’t know about it, but basically what we do is give out little cards to students who have other universities’ shirts on. It says “You’ve been caught in an Owl Foul,” and basically what happens is we bring them up the SG office and if they give us the shirt we give them a brand new FAU shirt, and we’ll take the shirt that they had and we’ll donate it to a clothing drive. So it’s a win-win for everybody.

Cepeda: We’re looking to get new shirts for this upcoming year, because we’re out right now.

As 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of FAU’s Student Government, the student body president and vice president have some special activities planned, many of them aimed at bringing SG more recognition in general campus life.

Cepeda:  We definitely want to have an overall theme this year of giving back to students, being more accessible, making Student Government more recognizable on campus; not just for our free Scantrons, but for the opportunities we have to grow out of the classroom… I know Tom and I, this fall semester, are looking to go to as many clubs and organizations [and] getting them to come out to our football games. Kinda go again on campaign mode, but get them to come to our games. We’re going to go to the residence halls, speak to the RAs.

DeMaio: There are a lot of big things moving forward. I think that one of the coolest things we’ve done so far, and it happened in our first couple weeks in office was opening up the Stadium to Freshman Orientation.

Courtesy of Michael Cepeda and Thomas De Maio
Courtesy of Michael Cepeda and Thomas De Maio

Student government is hoping to strengthen ties with the FAU Police Department through both a technology partnership using “Smart Water” (a liquid ID tag applied to an item that can be used to track and recover stolen property), and a liaison position.

Cepeda: Right now we’re entering a partnership with FAU PD over “Smart Water” technology, it’s a new way to register your property…

DeMaio: It’s truly amazing…Fort Lauderdale police uses it, and they’ve seen crime drop 13, 14, 15 percent…It’s supposed to help, moving forward, with crime on campus

Cepeda: I know the House here, the Boca Raton House of Reps., we’re looking into bringing back the police liaison position, se we have someone in constant communication with FAU PD. We think safety is really important and through Student Government we could really benefit from a partnership with them.